When Jeff Aug plays guitar, he said he is taken back to his childhood in Laurel, even though he’s often halfway around the world.
“When I play the guitar, I think about ... concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Laurel girls, Beltsville girls, comparing Laurel girls to Beltsville girls, Laurel Boys and Girls Club soccer, summers at the Laurel City Pool,” said Aug, 32, of his childhood growing up in West Laurel.
He had a lot of time to think about that childhood while attempting to set a world record March 3 for the most concerts in different countries in a day, when he played nine shows in nine countries in 24 hours.
Now having given his fingers time to recover — he plays what he describes as “high-speed country funk,” hand-picked on a six-string acoustic guitar — Aug is returning to Laurel Friday from his home in Immenstadt, Germany, for one of three U.S. shows in a 22-date solo tour. The tour kicked off April 5 in Berlin.
Aug said he pursued the world record, which is awaiting confirmation from the Guinness World Records organization, to promote his new album, “Wedding Songs,” and to reclaim his previous record. In 2009, he played in six countries in 24 hours, setting a record that was bested in 2010 by German guitarist Vicente Patiz.
“After [the record] was beat in 2010, I figured I should get it back for the release of my new album,” Aug said.
The new attempt took him by plane, bus, car and motorcycle to Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein — where he played at a tattoo convention — and Austria. Each concert lasted about 45 minutes, he said. Aug said he expects confirmation sometime in the next few weeks. Representatives from Guiness World records could not be reached by press time to confirm the record.
Aug’s sister, Suzy Aug, who lives in Columbia, said she wasn’t surprised when he went after the record again.
“I’ve never thought of him as a competitive person,” Suzy Aug said. “But he’s always wanted to be on the cover of [Guitar World] magazine, and getting this crazy record is just something he can do to move toward that.”
Aug said this trip to the Laurel area is special because he hasn’t performed here since 2004 and has recently reconnected with friends from school through social media.
One of those friends, Laurel High School Class of 1988 classmate Steven Haversack, who still lives in Laurel, said it has been inspiring to see Aug living his childhood dream.
“When you’re a teenager, you all think you’re going to be a musician or an actress or something,” said Haversack, who played bass in a band with Aug in high school. “No one thinks they’re going to be a human resources specialist or an accountant. So when I found out he was actually making a living playing music, it was really motivating. He took a childhood dream and made it come true.”
After graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1992, Aug played with his band, named Sorry About Your Daughter, until the band broke up in 1997. Invited to perform some solo shows in Germany in 1998, Aug said, he played a few shows and never left.
“It was a roller coaster ride of activity for about two to four years,” Aug said of starting his solo career in Germany. “There were times when there was a lot happening, and there were times when I would need to use ketchup to soften a hard end of bread I found in the refrigerator because I had no money.”
Aug is now married with two sons, 18 months and 11, and runs MAXIMUM Booking, his Germany-based company that books and promotes tour dates for rock bands and artists in Europe, when he is not himself touring.
“I have had many opportunities over here, which I would never have had in the U.S.,” such as touring with various artists and playing at festivals, Aug said. “I definitely have built up a fan base over here.”
For more information about tour dates, visit www.jeffaug.com.